More than 50 workers near Bakersfield, Calif., were exposed to harmful chemicals while harvesting cabbage early this month due to a pesticide drift. Twelve people reported cases of vomiting, nausea, and in some cases fainting, according to local news station Kern Golden Empire. The pesticide, Vulcan, contained the active ingredient Chlorpyrifos, a chemical that was slated to be banned by the EPA under the Obama administration. The ban was canceled in March.
"We started getting an odor, pesticide odor, coming in from the mandarin orchards west of our field," said Efron Zavalza, Supervisor and Food Safety Specialist, Dan Andrews Farms. Zavalza said a Sun Pacific Farms orchard was sprayed Thursday night with Vulcan, an organophosphate-based chemical that is land applied. Health officials said it is highly toxic.
The public relations officer for Kern County Public Health issued a warning: "Anybody that was exposed, that was here today, we encourage them to seek medical attention immediately. Don't wait. Particularly if you're suffering from any symptoms. Whether it's nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately."
The controversial decision to cancel the ban on Chlorpyrifos was one the first major decisions from Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA chief.